Deploy to Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)

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This tutorial enables any developer or an architect to quickly deploy the Curity Identity Server to the Azure Kubernetes Service.

This installation follows the security best practice to host the Curity Identity Server and the APIs behind an Ingress controller acting as an reverse proxy/API gateway. This will ensure that opaque access tokens are issued to internet clients, while APIs receive JWT access tokens. This design is called the Phantom Token Approach.

This tutorial can be completed by using the Azure Cloud Platform free tier option.

Components and URLs

Following components are deployed in the k8s cluster by running ./deploy-idsvr-azure-aks.sh --install

ComponentBase URLnamespaceDescription
Curity Adminhttps://admin.example.akscurityThe URL for the Identity Server admin console
Curity Runtimehttps://login.example.akscurityThe URL for runtime nodes of the Identity Server
Example APIhttps://api.example.aks/echoapiAPI endpoint protected by the phantom-token flow
Phantom Token PluginNANAPlugin for transforming opaque tokens in to by value JWT tokens
NGINX Ingress controllerNAingress-nginxNGINX Ingress controller for routing requests to different services in the k8s cluster, also acts as the gateway in front of the APIs and transforms opaque access tokens to JWTs

Curity Admin URL is typically not exposed to the internet and kept internal but since this is a demo installation for evaluation and study purposes, the admin url has been exposed.


This tutorial will alias the load balancer public IP address to local development domain names, which provides an easy and free way for developers to use real world URLs. However in an enterprise setup, you would create globally resolvable custom internet domain names using a paid domain name service like Azure DNS.


The deployment process is automated via a simple bash script. The deployment script asks to provide an option to either use azure cli or terraform to manage the Azure infrastructure.

./deploy-idsvr-azure-aks.sh --install
./deploy-idsvr-azure-aks.sh --delete

As part of the installation the script will create a new AKS cluster as per the configuration options defined in infrastructure-config/infra-config.json.

Installation Prerequisites

The following prerequisites must be met before proceeding ahead with the installation.

Please also copy a license file to the idsvr-config/license.json location. If needed, you can also get a free community edition license from the Curity Developer Portal.


First clone the installation repository to your local computer

git clone git@github.com:curityio/curity-idsvr-azure-aks-demo-installation.git
cd curity-idsvr-azure-aks-demo-installation
Deployment Scripts

Choose the Azure region you will deploy to and create a resource group with the following command:

az group create --name myResourceGroup --location northeurope

Also ensure that the resource group name is included in the infrastructure-config/infra-config.json file:

"aks-cluster-config": [
"Name": "resource_group",
"Value": "myResourceGroup",
"Description": "Name of the resource group"

Run the installation

./deploy-idsvr-azure-aks.sh --install

The installation script prompts for AKS cluster creation and deploys all of the needed infrastructure components in Azure along with a customized docker image containing the required phantom-token plugin for the NGINX Ingress controller.

Add following entry to the /etc/hosts file after the installation is completed to access the systems.

Replace the placeholder text with actual load balancer IP address.

< LoadBalancer-IP > admin.example.aks login.example.aks api.example.aks

Stop the environment

./deploy-idsvr-azure-aks.sh --stop

Start the environment

./deploy-idsvr-azure-aks.sh --start

View logs

kubectl -n curity logs -f -l role=curity-idsvr-admin
kubectl -n curity logs -f -l role=curity-idsvr-runtime
kubectl -n ingress-nginx logs -f -l app.kubernetes.io/component=controller
kubectl -n api logs -f -l app=example-api

Here are a few useful kubectl commands

kubectl get namespaces # Get all namespaces in the cluster
kubectl get nodes -o wide # Get all of the worker nodes in the cluster
kubectl get pods -n curity # Get all pods running the curity namespace
kubectl get pods -n ingress-nginx # Get all pods running the ingress-nginx namespace
kubectl get pods -n api # Get all pods running the api namespace
kubectl get ingress -n curity # Get ingress rules defined in the curity namespace
kubectl get ingress -n api # Get ingress rules defined in the api namespace
kubectl -n ingress-nginx get svc ingress-nginx-controller -o jsonpath="{.status.loadBalancer.ingress[0].ip}" # Get public ip address of the load balancer

Later, when you have finished with this tutorial, run the following command to free cloud resources

./deploy-idsvr-azure-aks.sh --delete

Trust Self-signed Root CA Certificate

All of the URLs are accessible over https for secure communication. In the demo setup, self-signed certificates are used, but since they are not trusted by default by the browser, you must add the root CA certificate to the operating system's truststore to prevent untrusted certificate warnings.

Root CA configuration

Add the self-signed root CA certificate certs/example.aks.ca.pem to the operating system trust store.

Operating SystemLocation
macOSKey Chain / System / Certificates
WindowsMicrosoft Management Console / Certificates / Local Computer / Trusted Root Certification Authorities

Identity Server Configuration

The idsvr-config/helm-values.yaml.template file contains the Curity Identity Server deployment configuration. You can add any additional configurations to the file if needed.

An exhaustive set of configuration options can be found in the GitHub repository.

NGINX Ingress Controller Configuration

NGINX Ingress controller configuration in this example has been updated to add the support for phantom token plugin which runs on calling the example API endpoint. For more details about usage and configuration of plugins in Ingress controllers in the Kubernetes environment, please refer to Integrating Plugins with Kubernetes article.


Run the following steps to test the phantom token flow. These steps will be same irrespective of the type of Ingress controller deployed :

1. Obtain an opaque access token (a.k.a reference token) using client credentials grant type

curl --location --request POST 'https://login.example.aks/oauth/v2/oauth-token' \
--header 'Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded' \
--data-urlencode 'client_id=example-api' \
--data-urlencode 'client_secret=Password123' \
--data-urlencode 'scope=read' \
--data-urlencode 'grant_type=client_credentials'

The response returned to the client includes an opaque access token.


2. Call the API proxy endpoint using the opaque access token

curl https://api.example.aks/echo -H 'Authorization: Bearer _0XBPWQQ_453276d1-8c29-4913-be07-e1f16b0323e3' | jq .

3. Observe that the opaque access token was transformed into a by-value access token, that is into a JWT by the phantom token plugin and passed to the upstream example-api call. The API logs the token and also returns it as response for easy verification.

kubectl -n api logs -f -l app=example-api
Example API listening on port : 3000
JWT token echoed back from the upstream API = eyJraWQiOiIxMjEyNzc5MTk1IiwieDV0IjoiN25LNEFDeDA3VHVWd0Q1d0pvejByYmR2YVhFIiwiYWxnIjoiUlMyNTYifQ.eyJqdGkiOiJjNGNjZTJkYy1hODdiLTQwMmEtOWY2Ny01ZTBmZDlhMmQ1ZjgiLCJkZWxlZ2F0aW9uSWQiOiI1OTYxYzI5ZS0zOWE1LTQ3NTItODVlNC1kODE1OGZlZTg2N2QiLCJleHAiOjE2NTIzMzQ4NDYsIm5iZiI6MTY1MjMzNDU0Niwic2NvcGUiOiJyZWFkIiwiaXNzIjoiaHR0cHM6Ly9sb2dpbi5leGFtcGxlLmdrZS9-Iiwic3ViIjoiNmEzNzVhMzAxYmJlNGQ4ZjliMjg5MmFiMjRkOWJkZjIzNTVmYjUyZTFjZWJiY2I0ODkwMTUyNWMwYWNkYjZiNyIsImF1ZCI6InNpbXBsZS1lY2hvLWFwaSIsImlhdCI6MTY1MjMzNDU0NiwicHVycG9zZSI6ImFjY2Vzc190b2tlbiJ9.wx2mumnlq_YVTfbxUdJXtwhwAANTkC7avBLhg5G-gi52Sc8veD8PMM3ZwszkE_3ejDAtXpizAI7mWnzMy45cHMTviJUbxjJf7-xsi3izKE8d-tmECfEJGRwCXmlG0kguwKwC1IStExU6-KBGQ1sfftkDBbp3mYsFDTGYxumtm0wInBf0_tuKP1m625h_Xs-S-4pBBRa7BvDGCq7bNzE8kbnRELQXXJxExEgMIeLtvaCg5nK5KYMfA20Ah-X65tkX4XbXZnrd8IkQK0nwsNMC0jzauw66PmsvHB2jEvR-QmQBx7D_Pgme62nqcvMDzPavzzsj5Pi4PGJ75XpFa9ptGw

Decode and study the JWT, you can use OAuth Tools to decode JWT tokens and run various OAuth flows.

Decoded JWT


You have learned how to deploy the Curity Identity Server and manage custom plugins with the NGINX Ingress Controller in the Azure Kubernetes Service and tested the workings of the phantom token flow. For further information, please refer to the Phantom Token Flow.

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